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Drogheda United 1-0 Wexford Youths

November 7, 2018

Match Report by Ciaran D'Arcy

A solitary Peter Hynes header was enough to see Drogheda United through a taxing FAI Cup fourth round encounter with Wexford Youths.

With four of his squad cup-tied, Drogheda manager Mick Cooke was forced to ring the changes for the visit of Shane Keegan’s Wexford, a new-look centre-back partnership of Paul Crowley and Brian Gannon providing Gabriel Sava with cover.

As for the visitors, they were left without the luxury of a recognised ‘keeper- regular No. 1 Graham Doyle’s absence meaning that outfield player Aidan Kennan had to don the custodian’s kit.

Despite a valiant effort from the First Division strugglers, their Premier Division counterparts’ quality shone through in the end, with Hynes providing the touch of quality needed in the 26th minute to see his side through to the quarter-finals

Nip and Tuck

Obvious personnel problems aside, Wexford made it clear from the off that they weren’t just there to provide token opposition.

The Drogs were first to try their luck at goal, Philip Hand’s whipped corner finding Gavin Brennan at the back-post, but the rangey winger could only bounce his header wide.

Determined to make use of their set-piece opportunities, the home side were handed another crack at goal through the same means four minutes later, only to see Eric Foley’s well-flighted cross meet the same fate.

Keen to impress their authority on proceedings, the Youths hit straight back a minute later. Dean Broaders’ marauding left wing run culminated in a centre to Shane Nolan, whose stinging half-volley from the edge of the box forced Gabriel Sava into a smart save.

Ryan Brennan’s dipping volley from 35 had Kennan scrambling on 10, and the visitors responded in kind with Thomas Croke’s blistering effort a minute later falling the wrong side of the post.

Wexford found more joy down the left on 19. James Dermody was the protagonist this time, his cross found Broaders whose shot proved too hot to handle for Sava, the former Monaghan stopper palming the ball into the air before being unceremoniously bundled to the net along with the ball by Broaders, prompting Paul McLaughlin to whistle for a free out.

Hynes Header

The ball was in the net once again on 26, however this time legally so. Makeshift central-defender Paul Crowley’s intelligent ball was seized upon by Ryan Brennan, whose precision right wing cross was expertly turned home by Hynes, leaving Kennan with no chance.

Crowley himself had a header sneak narrowly wide of the top-right stanchion six minutes later, as Drogheda increasingly began to dictate the tempo approaching half time.

Not content to be anonymous within the match, Wexford appeared revitalised after the break, with Broaders again troubling Sava on 46, forcing the keeper to fumble his 30-yard daisy-cutter.

Drogheda’s set-piece dominance resurfaced on 53 as Hynes looped yet another header wide of Kennan’s right post following Hand’s swerving delivery from deep.

Spirited Youths

Declan O’Brien’s introduction for John Sullivan on 58 signalled the home side’s unease with their slim lead, and the Drogs very nearly substantiated their attacking credentials four minutes later, but Gavin Brennan’s shot was well beaten away by Kennan.

With the pressure still unrelenting, Tiarnán Mulvenna was next to try his luck on 69, but stand-in Kennan darted off his line admirably to thwart the diminutive striker.

The Wexford netminder was left with yet more work to do on 78 as he turned Peter Hynes’ point-blank header over the crossbar. From the resultant corner, Fabio’s low drive looked destined for the Wexford net, only for Dermody’s last-ditch goal-line intervention keeping his side in the tie.

Far from a spent force, the Youths went enthusiastically about their task of finding an equaliser despite the heavy legs, and may well have found it on 82 only for Nolan rushing his shot wide after an incisive counter-attacking movement.

United had Gannon to thank two minutes later, whose positioning on the line proved vital as he hacked away a glancing header from a dangerous Wexford corner.

With the worst of the turbulence behind them and a spot in the next round more or less assured for the hosts, Mulvenna’s 89th minute effort provided the last glimpse of excitement in a largely open and exciting affair, his shot creeping menacingly close to Keenan’s post following a deflection from Croke.

 

Drogheda United:
1 Gabriel Sava
2 Stephen Quigley
3 Philip Hand
6 John Sullivan (O’Brien 58)
8 Ryan Brennan
9 Tiarnán Mulvenna
11 Gavin Brennan
15 Peter Hynes
16 Paul Crowley ©
17 Brian Gannon
22 Eric Foley
Subs not used:
Shane Finnegan
Cathal Brady
Sean Brennan
John Breen
Steven Watters
Connor O’Keefe

Wexford Youths:
1 Aidan Kennan
2 Shane Clarke
3 James Dermody
4 Jamie Carr
5 CJ Browne
6 Thomas Clarke
7 Shane Nolan
8 Eric Molloy
9 Tom Elmes (Furlong 80)
10 Glen Hawe
11 Dean Broaders (Mulcahy 80)
Subs not used:
Gary Delaney
Shaun Corcoran
Paul Malone
Conor Fennor
James Scallon

Shots:
Drogheda 16
Wexford 10

Corners:
Drogheda 8
Wexford 7

Yellow cards:
Drogheda 1 (Stephen Quigley)
Wexford 1 (CJ Browne)

Referee: Paul McLaughlin

Droghedaunited.ie Man of the Match: Aidan Kennan

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